For first-time home buyers, the process of buying a home can be overwhelming and anxiety-causing. Buying a home, after all, will likely be the largest financial transaction of their lives, and there are more than a few challenges along the way. As with any major undertaking, it all begins with asking the right questions before taking the plunge. Read on to find out what you need to know with these 4 common questions from first-time home buyers in Boston.
1. Why should I buy instead of continuing to rent?
First-time home buyers are often uncertain about committing to a mortgage for the next 30 years. Most of the time, a home is a good investment, but sometimes renting is a better option.
Buying a home can be a solid investment. When you write that monthly rent check the money is gone forever. But when you make a mortgage payment, you are working toward homeownership along with other benefits. You can, for example, deduct mortgage interest and property taxes at tax time. And, typically, homes increase in value over time, so your home will eventually be worth more than you paid for it.
On the other hand, there are scenarios in which renting is a better option. If, for example, you plan to live in the home for only a few years, you may be better off financially to continue renting because there won’t be time to build any equity. Also, home ownership comes with a great deal of responsibility, and if you’re not ready to take on those responsibilities, renting will likely be a better option.
2. Is my credit good enough?
Most first-time home buyers in Boston have concerns about their credit, specifically whether their credit is good enough to allow them to get the necessary financing.
In general, the higher your credit score, the better off you’ll be mortgage-wise. With a higher score, you can a better rate and better terms, which will mean you pay less in the long run. Conventional lenders usually require a minimum credit score of 620, but with 740 or higher, you can expect to get a better mortgage rate.
If, however, your score isn’t quite that good, you can still qualify for a home loan, even as a first-time home buyer. For example, home buyers with a minimum score of 500 can qualify for an FHA loan, which requires no more than a 10% down payment and typically has a lower interest rate than a conventional loan. So be sure to contact a Boston agent at (617) 657-9811 to find out about mortgage-assistance programs if your credit score is less than sterling.
3. What does it cost to buy a home?
Knowing that the cost of buying a home goes well beyond the mortgage payments, first-time home buyers commonly want to know what the full and actual cost of buying a home is.
First, there’s the down payment, which can range from 20% of the purchase price for a conventional loan to 3.5% for a government-backed loan like an FHA loan. And then there are the closing costs, which typically amount to 2% to 6% of the purchase price. On top of that, there may be HOA fees and private mortgage insurance, and there will certainly be property taxes and the cost of homeowners insurance . . . and more.
The total cost of buying a home varies from market to market, so to get a handle on this cost, your best bet is to talk to a Boston agent. Just call (617) 657-9811 to find out more.
4. What does the home-buying process involve?
First-time home buyers usually wonder about the whole process of buying a home since they’ve never been through it before. The common steps in the process are . . .
- Getting pre-approved for a mortgage
- Finding a good agent
- Shopping for a home
- Making an offer and negotiating
- Getting a home inspection
- Gathering paperwork and preparing for closing
At closing, the final step in the process, documents are signed, money changes hands, and you get the keys to your new home/
Lean on Your Boston Agent’s Expertise
A final common question from first-time home buyers is this: “Do I really need an agent?” The short answer is that most of the time they do. Buying a home is a complex process, and a good local agent can help you get the best deal possible. So if you’re among the first-time home buyers in Boston, be sure to contact us at (617) 657-9811.